As the coronavirus or COVID continues to spread around the world, and the World Health Organization calls the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic, companies need to assess their work as usual during this time.
This raises the question of whether the business continuity plan is also prepared for pandemics. The business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery plans must be reviewed in the event of a disaster and specific pandemic plans.
These efforts help companies determine whether they can support a larger number of employees in remote locations, gain insight into their supply chain's resilience, and assess the short and long-term impact of a pandemic on the technology industry.
As a result of the recent challenges, many companies are demanding more remote access solutions. With these solutions, employers want to ensure that their employees can continue to run their daily business from home.
A popular solution is Desktop as a Service (DaaS).
DaaS can be implemented quickly by external IT specialists and does not require any long-term commitment. It enables companies to provide remote access to their employees at short notice without endangering their infrastructure's security.
DaaS is a virtual desktop infrastructure structure solution (VDI) that either an external service provider or the existing IT team with the appropriate expertise can implement quickly, for example, with AWS WorkSpaces or Google Chrome Remote Desktop.
Each employee is provided with his own virtual Desktop. All virtual desktops are located in the company's own private network (Virtual Private Cloud or VPC) and are therefore entirely isolated from the Internet. These virtual desktops can connect to the company's existing infrastructure via a secure tunnel (IPSec).
As per the research report from the IMARC Group, the desktop virtualization market grew around 12 percent during 2014-2019. Considering the current pandemic situation and looking forward, the report estimated that the market will grow during the next five years.
How does DaaS work?
When the world did not have the advantages of cloud computing, and virtual workspaces were not a very big thing, setting up a network of several computers was an ordeal. It required tons of purchase and installation of terminals that would go around from each machine to the server and back. This process was extremely time-consuming and expensive.
In today's world, this view has changed. Instead of compiling and setting up terminals for hours, we have the technology that enables us to work on laptops connected to a remote server. These servers are not physically connected to the computers but work precisely the way the physical ones do.
This remote server creates virtual desktops that can be accessed easily by an interface designed especially for this purpose. It is compatible with a variety of devices like laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. In most cases, DaaS does not even require high data transmission speeds and can work seamlessly even on a regular internet connection!
What are the benefits of using Desktop as a Service?
The data is completely isolated and protected. The user's end device (Desktop, laptop, or tablet) connected to his virtual Desktop has no access to the data. Only an image of the virtual Desktop is transferred to the end devices.
The most significant advantage of remote desktops than VPNs is that the company data is not stored on the user's device, and the user never has access to the company's internal network. It is advantageous when employees work with a corporate notebook while on the move, and it becomes even more critical when working from their home office with a private device (BYOD). Private or individual devices seldom meet the security standards of companies, which is a significant risk.
Quickly available, always available
Setup by qualified partners for professional services can be done within a few hours. Immediately afterward, companies and their employees can use virtual desktops. The right partner for managed services should also offer 24/7 support. In this way, companies ensure that their employees can concentrate on their business. The partner focuses on its infrastructure (e.g: storage, network) and the provided DaaS plarform.
Scalable and flexible
Organizations can roll out as many virtual desktops as they need - from a few to hundreds - without changing the infrastructure. You can also choose which operating system and which hardware each user receives. As part of the setup, additional applications can be installed on the virtual desktops according to the company's requirements.
The solution also supports a hybrid configuration of cloud and on-premises. The virtual desktops (instances) are provided in the cloud and connected to the on-premises infrastructure via a VPN so that companies can continue to use their existing infrastructure. There is no need to just migrate to the cloud to implement your home office.
Easier system upgrades
Updates performed on the virtual server take changes up very fast and reflect those changes in the terminals in seconds. It saves a lot of time and creates a continuous flow of work output and employee productivity.
Here are the top 10 DaaS providers
As companies are often dependent on providers in all areas of their business, they should understand their services and products. Here is a list of the top-performing DaaS providers in the Information Technology market:
Chrome Remote Desktop
Chrome Remote Desktop is one of the most popular Desktop as a Service software that is available for free. If you need to connect with all the devices that you own now and then or help a family member fix their system remotely, this is the perfect option for you.
- It is entirely free to use
- Quick setup procedure
- No built-in chats
- Cannot reboot machines and reconnect
Note: It is not an open-sourced software
Red Hat Virtualization
Red Hat Virtualization is another DaaS based infrastructure software that is easy to set up and very easy to use. It serves many requirements that include cross-portfolio and cross-platform integration. It offers a variety of tools to gain insights and intelligence from its users.
- Provides a lower cost for maintenance and running
- Applications run faster than with contemporary software
- High availability of resources and cross-platform support
- Default packages like RPM not officially supported on the software
- Manual compilation often required
- Runtime errors that need to be solved by re-integrating the software
Note: This is an open-source software
Pricing: Each subscription costs $999 per managed hypervisor socket pair each year for business-hour support
Amazon WorkSpaces is the industry leader in the cloud infrastructure market. It provides some of the highest-rated and most popular virtual applications to its users that facilitate easy cloud computing remote control of system terminals.
- Free tier offered for small business owners
- Several vital applications provided, like Amazon Web Security Hub
- Provides 24/7 access to customer service
- Support a maximum of 5 workspaces per region
- Little to no education or awareness about complex usage
- Investments needed in the form of skill training to master this platform
Note: It is not an open-source software
Pricing: A 12-month free tier is available to small businesses. Additional charges for technical support, starting at $29 per month.
Microsoft Azure with the Windows Virtual Desktop is gaining momentum for many people who want the best Desktop as a Service provider for backup and failover. This platform provides numerous foolproof procedures that give you options for the recovery of lost data.
- Azure Site Recovery is very efficient
- Pay-as-you-go pricing policies
- Add-on benefits like Azure Cost Management
- Does not support moving an Azure Resource Manager subscription to a different AD tenant
- Non-supported params applied to Security Group Rules
- Number of volumes that can be attached depends on the instance type
Note: This is not an open-source software
Pricing: Free for the first 12 months, $10 a month if you're paying as-you-go.
VMware Horizon Cloud is a very efficient DaaS provider that is an expert in helping you scale your virtual workspace. It gives you the highest performance in speed, which translates into quantifiable benefits in uptime and scalability.
- Deploy customized virtual desktops fast
- Offers several versions of Desktop as a Service like Horizon 7 and Horizon Cloud
- Scales easily
- Management via vCenter server not compatible
- Only 1 physical server allowed
- Only 2 physical CPUs per Hypervisor allowed
Note: VMware is not an open-source software
Pricing: Standard capacity of Horizon Cloud on IBM cloud is $2,950 per host per month
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is a low-cost and budget desktop solution. It prides itself on enhancing your virtual environment with efficient mobility and simple solutions that help you display your virtual environment.
- Seamlessly integrates with Amazon Web Services
- Offers affordable management solutions
- Securely transitions workloads and applications to the cloud
- A trade-off between stability and features
- Limited exposure to hypervisor features
- Many features not mature enough for usage in a production environment
Note: It is not traditionally open-source, but it has open-source alternatives in XenServer 6.2
Pricing: Business plan starts at $60 a month, which includes a host of popular options
flexVDI is a software solution that holds mixed components: open-source and free. This tool is widely used by people who want to cut their costs, increase work efficiency, and have a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure at the same time.
- Safe, flexible and mobile
- Protects against malware
- Not preferred for scaling procedures
- It takes time to set up
Note: It is an open-source software
FOSS-Cloud offers several accessible virtual server stations and workplaces to its users. It is also effortless to configure owing to its open-source software design and its easy-to-use instructions and interface.
- Dynamic desktop setup
- Fully integrated with Windows and Linux environments
- Redundant server infrastructure
- Not great for new environments or their initial developments
Note: It is an open-source software
NoMachine is known as the fastest and highest quality remote desktop app. NoMachine acts as a personal server that is completely private, secure, and safe. It is popular among users due to its speed and efficiency.
- Compatibility across several devices
- Video making abilities
- Works across all kinds of digital content
- Cut and paste between client and host is not convenient
- No simple file transfer mechanism
- Keyboard mapping not efficient
Note: It is an open-source software
Apache Guacamole is a clientless remote desktop gateway. It is popular in the DaaS networking clubs because no plugins or client software are required to run it. All the users need is access to a web browser.
- Clientless plugins
- Commercially supported
- Built on a well-documented API
- Challenging to work over public IP networks
- Hard to use over any connection that relies on custom networking ports
- Numerous unrelated software issues
Note: It is an open-source software
In these challenging times, it is particularly essential to maintain business continuity optimally. Despite the current crisis mode, decision-makers should continue to strive for the best solution that is ideally also future-proof.
The desktop-as-a-service solution can be helpful to use external expertise. Finally, the right service providers react to the current situation and adjust to a higher or particular demand.
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